fact checking the hits

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for obvious reasons, i heartily endorse this rollingstone.com feature, in which andy greene separates rock lyric fact from rock lyric fiction. but i was bummed he only took on 11 songs. what other famous rock and pop songs have their pants on fire?

i am looking for flat-out wrong facts here, like bono screwing up the time of day mlk was assassinated, or bruce springsteen showing a shocking lack of knowledge about 1969 chevys, rather than matters of opinion or interpretation.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 17:22 (nine years ago) link

This thread sort of gets into that vein: Songs where the songwriter confuses A with B

http://tinyurl.com/lil-shits (Pleasant Plains), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 17:24 (nine years ago) link

I think that anyone who looks for historical accuracy in pop music is missing the point. But I feel the same way about people who seek historical accuracy in Fox News, so...

NYCNative, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 17:38 (nine years ago) link

I've been to 2525, 4545 and 7575, and let me tell you, Zager & Evans don't know fuck-all.

Du Musst Calamari Werden (Phil D.), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 17:47 (nine years ago) link

sigh.

i'll offer up quite possibly my favorite song of all time, warren zevon's "boom boom mancini." warren sings, "when alexis arguello gave boom boom a beating, seven weeks later he was back in the ring." in fact, boom boom didn't return to the ring for 12 weeks after the arguello fight, which was on oct. 3, 1981. boom boom next fought on dec. 26, 1981, beating manuel abedoy by tko. i'm pretty sure i haven't missed the point of this awesome song. just pointing out a lyrical curiosity!

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 18:03 (nine years ago) link

In CCR's "Cotton Fields", Fogarty says "It was down in Louisiana / Just about a mile from Texarkana…" when the stateline is at least 25 miles away from the city limits.

http://tinyurl.com/lil-shits (Pleasant Plains), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 18:12 (nine years ago) link

"Kids in America" references "LA to east California." East California?

Springsteen's "Glory Days" inexplicably calls a fastball a speedball, a term I don't think anyone had ever used before or used ever since, at least not in a baseball context.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 18:24 (nine years ago) link

(xpost) Blame Leadbelly for "Cotton Fields" though, not Fogerty.

Hodge Podge Bodge, Peo-PLE! (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 18:30 (nine years ago) link

Him too.

http://tinyurl.com/lil-shits (Pleasant Plains), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 18:38 (nine years ago) link

Oh, yeah, "The Night Chicago Died," the narrator says his dad was a cop on "the east side of Chicago." Which is Lake Michigan. Chicago has north and south sides.

Du Musst Calamari Werden (Phil D.), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 18:39 (nine years ago) link

And a West Side!

I've been to plenty of big hip-hop shows where the act goes through all the directions, ending with "where all my east siders at!?" With a response of one or two yelps.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 18:43 (nine years ago) link

The rest of them are drowning?

sonofstan, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 18:48 (nine years ago) link

ok, not so famous, but it's funny how in "Walter Johnson," Jonathan Richman says, "he pitched for the Washington Senators in about 1924" but immediately corrects himself — "no, 1906." he was right the first time though, since Johnson pitched for the Senators between 1907 and 1927.

administratieve blunder (unregistered), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 19:03 (nine years ago) link

Springsteen's "Glory Days" inexplicably calls a fastball a speedball, a term I don't think anyone had ever used before or used ever since, at least not in a baseball context.

i like the hokeyness of speedball! i can't even imagine the word "fastball" in that line.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 19:07 (nine years ago) link

I don't understand people nitpicking about east California, south Detroit etc. These places might not be named such, but there is quite obviously an eastern part of California, a southern part of Detroit. What the hell are you all talking about?

emil.y, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 19:17 (nine years ago) link

If you're from East Chicago, then Mitch Daniels is your governor.

http://tinyurl.com/lil-shits (Pleasant Plains), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 19:21 (nine years ago) link

x-post Oh, come on - there's an east everything, wherever you go. But just because there is an east in California does not mean there is an East California.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 19:50 (nine years ago) link

Yeah, it's like referring to Greenwich Village as being on the South Side of Manhattan. It's geographically accurate, but still wrong.

Du Musst Calamari Werden (Phil D.), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:06 (nine years ago) link

just because there is an east in California does not mean there is an East California.

Yeah, but how do you know they're singing East California (a title of a place) rather than east California (a loose geographic indication)? Surely this is one's own interpretation? I mean, if someone started singing about 'East Nottingham' I wouldn't blink an eye - there's nowhere called that, but it makes perfect sense to me.

emil.y, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:19 (nine years ago) link

In the Chicago sense, you'd say he worked in the Loop or in Lakeview or Lincoln Park. It's like saying you're from East New York and meaning Long Island or Albany.

http://tinyurl.com/lil-shits (Pleasant Plains), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:29 (nine years ago) link

You can say east or west, but it betrays the song's narration.

http://tinyurl.com/lil-shits (Pleasant Plains), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:29 (nine years ago) link

"South Detroit" is indefensible. South of Downtown Detroit is Windsor, Ontario and the city spreads out West, North and East from Downtown. No one would say that they were born and raised in "South Detroit" instead of "Downtown Detroit". An argument could be made for Mexicantown being South Detroit, but it's really more west of downtown than south. The correct term for all communities south of Detroit and north of Toledo is "downriver".

BrianB, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 20:56 (nine years ago) link

"South Detroit" was actually one name that was suggested when Windsor became a city!

EveningStar (Sund4r), Wednesday, 23 February 2011 21:13 (nine years ago) link

Ha! I wonder if the Canadians would've changed it when Detroit collapsed - like the suburb formerly known as East Detroit which renamed themselves Eastpointe to allign with another suburb Grosse Pointe rather than the city. Anyway, to steer things slightly back to the thread topic...

It's more of a bad simile than an outright factual error and it's not a hit at all, but one lyric that has always bugged me is "Black Throated Wind" by the Grateful Dead (Barlow) where Weir sings "The busses and semis plunging like stones from a slingshot on mars" when Mars' gravity is 38% that of Earth. I guess the "plunging" is the part that kills it. It would've been just as easy and more factual to say "flying by like stones from a slingshot on Mars"

BrianB, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 21:31 (nine years ago) link

Here's some lyrics to "Jimmy" by Boogie Down Productions:

Here is a message to the Super-Hoes
Just keep in mind when Jimmy grows
It grows and grows and grows, so let it
But keep in mind about the epidemic
When Jimmy releases, boy it pleases
But what do you do about all these diseases?
Jimmy is Jimmy, no matter what
So take care of Jimmy cos you know what's up
'cos now in winter AIDS attacks
So run out and get your Jimmy Hats
It costs so little for a pack of three
They're Jimmy Hats for the winter attack

Okay, it was released in 1988, but still...

Tuomas, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 22:25 (nine years ago) link

like bono screwing up the time of day

does the song where bono counts off "uno dos tres catorce" count?

What You Know Is POLLS!: The Orson Welles Poll (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 24 February 2011 02:41 (nine years ago) link

the judges decline to judge bono for that one.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 24 February 2011 04:20 (nine years ago) link

lawyers work pro bono

http://tinyurl.com/lil-shits (Pleasant Plains), Thursday, 24 February 2011 05:29 (nine years ago) link

nine years pass...

did Snoop really quit school because of recess?

muntjac wagner (Neanderthal), Monday, 24 August 2020 01:46 (three months ago) link

https://www.alphr.com/science/1008020/physicists-have-finally-fact-checked-the-ludicrous-lyrics-in-the-proclaimers-500/

Of course, while it’s possible in a physics sense, it’s hugely inadvisable in a medical capacity. Assuming a speed of four miles per hour, a person (Proclaimer or otherwise) would cover 96 miles in a 24-hour period, meaning you’d need over five days of solid walking for the first leg to be completed. It’s been suggested that humans can go for over ten days without sleep, but probably not while walking 500 miles (and then 500 more) without food. More work is required in this burgeoning field of research.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Monday, 24 August 2020 19:58 (three months ago) link

Let's face it, any hit song that goes on about doing "it" (or anything, really) "all night long" needs to issue a correction.

henry s, Monday, 24 August 2020 20:34 (three months ago) link

I meant if you define "night" as the daily period of ambient darkness, we're talking 8 hours minimum. When was the last time you did anything for 8 straight hours? Even work gives you a lunch break.

henry s, Monday, 24 August 2020 20:37 (three months ago) link

Depends on where you live and what time of year it is.

Lily Dale, Monday, 24 August 2020 20:45 (three months ago) link

Wonder if it has ever been performed at the Bukta Tromsø Open Air Festival

Anti-Cop Ponceortium (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 24 August 2020 20:54 (three months ago) link

two months pass...

I just heard "Love Train" by the O'Jays and it contains the lines:

All of you brothers over in Africa
Tell all the folks in Egypt, and Israel, too

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 19 November 2020 14:58 (two weeks ago) link


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